For Immediate Release
April 17, 2012
Conservatives Declare War on the Environment
VANCOUVER — Stephen Harper’s decision to gut regulations and abdicate the federal government’s responsibilities for the environmental assessments of natural resource projects highlights the fact that the Conservative government has not only declared war on evidence and information, but also war on the environment, according to Joyce Murray, Member of Parliament for Vancouver Quadra and Liberal Critic for Small Business and Tourism.
“The Conservatives are taking Canada a generation backward in terms of ensuring environmental sustainability while creating jobs economic growth. This decision fails Canadians today and in the future,” said Murray.
MP Murray also criticised the government’s cuts to funding for responding to oil spills and other environmental emergencies and for centralising the remaining staff in an office in Eastern Canada.
“That means that front-line response to oil spill emergencies on our coast will be coordinated by a small handful of staff from the other side of the country, at the very time government is over-riding the pipeline environmental review process. Delays in emergency spill response and deployment could have devastating environmental consequences,” said Murray
According to Liberal Environment critic Kirsty Duncan: “Under the guise of ‘streamlining,’ the federal government is attempting to excise itself from the environmental review process, leaving provinces to fend for themselves. This is convenient for the Conservatives, who continue to gut Environment Canada of its scientists and environmental experts, who are now expected to perform the same work with less, and within newly imposed rigid timeframes.”
Liberal Energy and Natural Resources critic David McGuinty continued:
“This appears to be more about the fast-tracking of federal government revenues than serious and important regulatory reform. The downloading of environmental assessments to provinces, the imposition of arbitrary timelines, the censoring of independent voices in the hearings process – these all amount to an incoherent plan buried in a budget bill so as not to see the light of day. In that regard, I am calling on the government to introduce separate legislation to deal with these issues and immediately refer that legislation to a House of Commons Legislative Committee.
Vesting the decision making power for natural resources projects in a single Minister or Cabinet is a dangerous power grab which can only compromise an objective and evidence-based approach to the exploitation of our natural resources.”
Office of Joyce Murray, MP